Just yesterday we managed to take some time off to get our kitchen chairs re-rushed. The chairs were part of our farm in Holland together with most of our other furniture, generously thrown in by the previous owner who was an antique dealer and father of 14 children. Those kitchen chairs were old then, and the rushed seating, through all the years with growing kids, together with a series of cats plucking at them from underneath had finally given way. We tried sitting on just the frame with the help of some string and cushions. This was hard going. Finally, as we could never find anyone who knew how to re-rush or re-thatch/cane them we gave up and stored them away.
Last week we walked into a shop in Bowral with similar looking chairs. I asked about the state of the rush and I got the address of someone who could do this. It was a phone call with a strong York-shire voiced answer with an address in Newtown, Sydney, that finally gave us hope of being able to sit in comfort around the dining table again soon.
After arrival, we met this very old couple living near one of the quaintest and busiest car and pedestrian thoroughfare in Sydney, the extension of King Street towards the Princess Highway. The Yorkshire couple were almost as old as our chairs but a lot livelier. He immediately knew were our chairs came from, the type of rush used and the method. He already told us the rushing material is not allowed to be imported anymore and all those type of chairs including rocking, wicker chairs are now done in a paper product, very strong and similar in looks. The wife, Angela was the secretary and keeper of order, lifely as a finch, and Chris her husband, could hardly walk but was also very animated, full of knowledge about the different rushes and where they actually grow. Their small cottage was chockers with old chairs. She told us, their bed and the kitchen table were the only areas free from the clutter of cane, rush, chairs, tools and all sorts of other stuff.
After dropping the chairs off and being entertained by this very hospitable couple we strolled around the corner and passed a Polish cafe/ restaurant. The people inside tucking into their food looked Polish and a little further was another shop with very fashionable looking clothing, it was called ‘Magdalena Duma.’. Inside the shop window was a sign by Magdalena giving credit to her Polish born mother’s influence and inspiration, which we thought was a nice thing to do so publicly.
Magdalena is some lady: Born in Poland with her family migrating to Australia. Looking in her shop she sure makes original items, seems gifted with a desire to cut the cloth and make fashion her world.
Anyway, if you ever are in need of re-rushing your old chairs, go and see Angela and Chris. But do have a look at Magdalena’s collection at 547 King Street, Newtown. They are works of art!